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Unlocking The Secrets Of Slowly Digestible Starch

Scientists have begun to unlock the secrets of starches - knowledge that could pave the way for a new generation of more healthful carbohydrates that do not cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.

Those are among the consequences of eating rapidly digestible starch (RDS), perhaps best known in a diet-conscious world as starch in foods such as potatoes and crackers that have a high glycemic index (GI).

GI is a measure of how quickly the body converts starch into glucose, which triggers release of insulin in the body. Long-term consumption of high-glycemic foods has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, Bruce R. Hamaker and colleagues note.

In two reports scheduled for the November 13 issue of the ACS bi-monthly journal Biomacromolecules, they describe the first studies on the structural basis for the slow digestion property of certain starches in raw cereal grains. These slowly digestible starches (SDS) have a specific internal structure that delays digestion and conversion into glucose.

The research is a fundamental advance toward eventually improving food quality with higher amounts of SDS, the scientists indicate.

American Chemical Society
. November 2006.

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